Saturday, February 21, 2015

Book review - "Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud" by Shaun Considine (1989)

The story of the famous feud between two of arguably the greatest divas in Hollywood. At times as a book it felt a little hyped and gossipy - but Considine has done his research (I really liked his book on Paddy Chayefsky) and benefits considerably from interviewing many of Bette and Joan's colleagues.

Both of them were hard working, talented pieces of work, who had more in common than they cared to admit - sure, Bette was more of a serious actor, but both knew the importance of being a star, both had atrocious track records as mothers and in the world of long term relationships, both liked being with men who adored them but then grew bored with them, both were routinely attracted to arseholes, both could be troupers but also grossly unprofessional. Some of their behaviour was shocking - the carry on and antics.

Joan seems to have been more successful as a lover - she probably liked it more - and glam-bot while Bette was the better actor. Joan became a movie star first, dipping when Bette was at her peak - but then she came back; both got a career boost from the psycho biddy films of the 1960s.  Joan seems nicer than Bette. You come out of this being entertained but also sad that two women had such a knack for making themselves miserable.

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